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tv   The Last Word  MSNBC  March 26, 2012 10:00pm-11:00pm EDT

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point. republicans think this will be a good issue for them to use against president obama. i do not think they are right but i'm looking forward to them trying to make the case. now it is time for the last word with lawrence o'donnell. have a great night. police in the trayvon martin case try a new angle trying to make trayvon look bad. and big surprise they don't have anything. >> even in death they are disrespecting my son. >> trayvon martin was shot. >> the unarmed 17-year-old was shot by a neighborhood watch captain. >> the bottom line there was a life and death struggle. >> george zimmerman was acting in self defense. >> they killed my son and now they are trying to kill his reputation. >> if i had a son he would look like trayvon. >> some of on the right pounced on president obama's comments. >> what the president said is disgraceful. >> if the president says it is morning at 9:00 a.m., the
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conservatives must say no, he is wrong. >> unhinged and desperate. rick santorum is getting in to a few oral arguments of his own. >> it is [ bleep ]. >> his temper. >> it's [ bleep ] blp. >> the horse is out of the barn. he loses himself when he loses his anger. >> if you haven't cursed out a "new york times" reporter during a course of a campaign you are not a real republican. >> rick santorum is taken his campaign to the steps of the supreme court. >> this is the most important issue in this election. >> president obama's health care law heads to the supreme court. >> the high court rule willing determine how you get and pay for your health care. >> on the obama health care website, is a t-shirt here for stay? >> it is go with it. >> the center piece of the failure is this piece of legislation back here, obamacare. >> you know what you get when you place a premium on never offending anyone? you get this guy. the least interesting man in the world.
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>> and this is where i was going to update you on the latest developments this the trayvon martin case, and then introduce george zimmerman's lawyer, craig sonar. but craig, the courageous defender of george zimmerman who's been making the rounds on television since last week doing softball interviews wherever he could find them just walked out of our studio in orlando, refusing to do this show. refusing to face my questions because he knew these questions were not going to be the questions he was facing everywhere else he went. he wasn't going to get out of here where an easy interview where he would be let off 0 the hook with his lawyerly questions. and so craig has been the first guest in the history of this particular show to get scared to
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be terrified so terrified of coming on this show that he has literally run away. he's in our car right now taking him home from our studio. afraid to face the questioning he would face on this show. watch out for whenever craig shows up next on television because wherever he shows up next on television has an obligation to put him through serious questioning about what he's doing and what he knows. and the contradictions in the things he's already said on television. this is a lawyer who's said on television, i haven't even asked my client what happened. on television he's said this is what happened. this lawyer is getting away with the craziest stuff. any lawyer has ever attempted to get away with in this situation on information and he knew, he knew that wouldn't happen here. he would not get away with that
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here. so, he is in his car, running away from this interview. running away from what we could have gotten at if he would just stay here and answer simple, sequential questions about this case. but he's made his decision, and he will not be back. don't expect me to be able to get him back. i'll take him anytime. anytime he can build up the courage to come here, i will take him. i mr. l pretape him at anytime of the day. he doesn't to stay up late. but i think we found out something tonight about the seriousness of craig sonner's ability to represent the complete innocence of george zimmerman. this case, the killing of trayvon martin is changing every darks including today. it's a lot for a lawyer to keep up with and obviously craig sonner is unable to keep up with
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it if he knows at the end of a day like today he would have to come here. the sanford police chief -- not the chief. there is a new acting chief but the sanford police have made an obvious tactical decision. they have decided they have had enough of the criticism from the likes of me and the law enforcement professionals i have had on the shown and others who called their investigation an exercise in rank incompetence the night trayvon martin was killed ago, 21 days ago. so the police have taken a time-tested police tradition in a situation like. this now they are leaking, leaking what they believe is evidence that supports their foolish, unjustifiable position of allowing george zimmerman to just walk free, walk free that night. and not collect any evidence from him, not his gun, not his
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clothing, nothing. nothing. from him on the night he shot and killed trayvon martin. the big leak of the day was from the police. it was later on firmed by trayvon martin's high school and it was at the time of the shooting trayvon martin was suspended from his high school because of an empty bag that appeared to have once contained marijuana. now, this revelation, of course, is relevant to absolutely nothing on the night trayvon martin was killed. >> even in death they are still disrespecting my son. and i feel that that's a shame. >> they killed my son and now they are trying to kill his reputation. >> publicly mounting george zimmerman's defense has been his lawyer, craig sonner who is not confident enough in that defense to come on this show, and nothing he's had to say anywhere else, and nothing the police have leaked in their attempt to justify their failure to
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investigate this killing has dampened the passion of trayvon martin supporters who attended tonight's sanford city commission meeting. >> zimmerman is not worth the history of this city. you need to arrest him and redeem this city right now. >> rallies were held for trayvon martin in kansas city, missouri, new jersey, atlanta, georgia, miami, florida and the place where the killing of trayvon took place, sanford, florida. trayvon martin's parents spoke tonight at that city commission meeting in sanford. >> i'm not asking for anything, any extra favors. i'm just asking for what you would ask for, as a parent. i know i cannot bring my baby back, but i'm sure going to make changes so that this does not happen to another family. [ applause ] >> for the sanford police
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department to feel as though they were going to sweep another young black minority death under the rug, it's an atrocity. this family is hurt. this family is torn. and the sanford police department needs to be held accountable. george michael zimmerman needs to be arrested. he needs to be put on trial. he needs to be given a sentence by a jury of his peers. we're not asking for an eye for an eye. we're asking for justice. justice, justice. >> this is where zimmerman's lawyer was supposed to join me. see if his chair -- there's his empty chair in our studio in orlando, florida. quickly, here's some of the things i'm going ask yoi him. who is paying you? who hired you? when did they hire you? does george zimmerman have a job? does he have any property?
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does he own anything? did you represent him when he was arrested for assault on a police officer in 2005? were you his lawyer then? did you represent him in the domestdo midwe domestic violence case in 2007 when he was accused of assault. did you represent him when she had a restraining order against him. you said zimmerman was injured, a broken nose. do you have photographs of your client's broken nose the night of the incident or the day after. you said zimmerman's clothes had grass and evidence share material on it during this altercation do you have that garment? can you show us what happened to it? do you have photographs of that garment, if you don't have the garment that night? do the police have photographs that they have told you about that they have shown you that supports this so-called evidence? do you have possession of the
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clothing? your client was not injured enough to go to the hospital that night. you say he sought some sort of medical treatment the next day. do you have the medical records you can show us what he was treated for the next day? and joe oliver, did you bring him in to this case? did your client have a conversation with joe oliver on saturday that got him involved in this case, and did he have that conversation with joe oliver without you being a party to that conversation? did you actually allow your client to talk to joe oliver without you participating? and if you did participate in that conversation, that conversation, as you know is not protected by attorney-client privilege because with a third party there there is no privilege on that conversation and i could go on and i'm absolutely, obviously quite disappointed that craig sonner, the terrified cowardly lawyer representing george zimmerman has left the chair empty, run ott of our studio, refused to
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come on this show, just minutes ago when he decided this was going to be too tough for him. so, instead. joining me now is charles -- from the "new york times." charles, you really brought this story to a level of main stream media consumption it had not reached before. this was a lot of other media going on. black radio hosts, on-line all sorts of places but you raised it to another level an you went to florida to talk to to the family. >> right i talked to his mother an grandmother. >> what is the picture you got of trayvon martin. >> the picture they paint is of an all-american kid. favorite meal is hamburger, french fries, brownies. he volunteers at the concession stand at the local pee wee football team and his bakes
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cookies for his brothers. dreams of going to college. you have to -- you know that is coming from a family. they love this kid obviously. so you have to take that in to account but the picture they paint is of a real loss, a painful loss. and even as i was interviewing his mother sybrina fulton, this were times in the interview where she would literally, not consciously doing it, i don't think, she would latch on to her mother's arm and rest her head on her shoulder as she continued to speak to me. this happened more than one time during the interview and it spoke to the pain that she was feeling and her mother kind of was there, as her support. >> what do you make of the big reveal today that trayvon martin, as a teenager in high school in america may have tried and or possibly at one time possessed marijuana? >> i don't see how that has any
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relationship to the case because his body was drug tested after it was take on the the medical examiner's office. so if there were any drugs in his system then, then we would know that. if we are going to start executing kids for marijuana, the line will be pretty long. >> we'd like to know from craig sonnor how much marijuana mr. zimmerman has tried over the course of his life, too. let's listen to craig sonnor on "the today show" this morning. >> i think that's all the evidence that needs to come out. i think some of the things you have mentioned are not quite accurate. i think when the evidence comes out, it will show that george zimmerman was acting in self defense in this case. when the rest of the evidence comes out, the fact -- one fact we do know and i can disclose at this point is george zimmerman suffered a broken nose, injury to the back of his head and signs of a scuffle being grass stain on the back of his shirt. >> that's the cowardly liar representing george zimmerman.
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what would you -- if i was going to invite you to ask questions if he had the courage to stay in his chair. i don't know if you scared him away or i scared him away. >> i will take the credit i think the crucial point is the initiation of the encounter. the other stuff makes no difference whatsoever. the question is, the central issue is if you start a fight and you are losing it, you don't have the right to claim self defense. if the lawyer is saying that he has witnesses and the police department is saying they have a witness who says not that there was a fight -- i fully believe there was a fight, but that trayvon martin initiated that fight, that's real information that we, as the public and trayvon's family needs to know. because that changes the dynamic. however, if george zimmerman
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initiates a fight, starts to lose that fight, and then starts to claim self defense. it is a different idea. this is more of a legal, analytical point. can the concept of self defense switch parties? for instance, i start a fight with you. you are winning. i, in the middle of getting my behind whupped, i say lawrence is hitting me so hard that i now feel that my life is in danger. can the concept of self defense switch parties from me to you? and the other thing is, could trayvon also have been covered under the concept of the stand your ground law. if a stranger follows you, who you can identify is armed and the police department has said that he's wearing his gun in a holster on his waist, a stranger with a gun follows me, gets within arm distance of me, do i then under the florida stand your ground law, have the the
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right to meet force with force? and that's a crucial part of this, as well. >> charles, i want to take a break right there. and we will be coming back and be joined by one of the family's lawyers who can put those legal questions to them. we will have more on the investigation and have renee -- the senior reporter for "the orlando sentinel." that paper broke the story on trayvon martin's suspension from high school and natalie jackson on cocounsel for the family. in the rewrite tonight, fox news hat the biggest lie anyone has tried to tell about mitt romney. we will tell you that one tonight. and later the president's position is now, you can call it obamacare, just don't call it unconstitutional. we will have the latest from inside of the supreme court today. committed to our suppliers... you know, those farmers, those foragers, those fishermen... for me, it's really about building this extraordinary community. american express is passionate about the same thing.
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>> we consider ourselves strong, black parent an we take pride in our kids. and it tears me apart to sit here and listen to the slander that they are giving to my son. >> that was trayvon martin's father at the sanford city commission meeting today. joining me are natalie jackson, an attorney for trayvon martin's family and charles blow is back with us and -- "the orlando sentinel," they paper that reported the leak today. one of the reasons i wanted to ask the zimmerman's lawyer about zimmerman's resources is i want to know what his attachment to the community is. that goes to the issue of bail, his freedom, his inclination to free, does he have a mortgage? does he own anything there and possible civil liability that you would be interested in what
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assets does the person have if you were to proceed in civil procedure against him. what do you make of zimmerman's lawyer running out of here tonight and being afraid to come on the show? >> i can't make anything of that. i think he's been -- his story has changed for his client at least three times that we know of. what we know is he left the car being told not to. we know he had a nine millimeters gun when he left the car. we know he was told, he said by his own words that trayvon martin was running away. hence, trayvon was not the aggressor. >>. >> charles, don't we know if zimmerman had simply followed the police advice we don't need you to do this, we don't need you to chase him, that trayvon martin would be alive today. >> absolutely. that fact no one is arguing. if zimmerman had stayed inside of that vehicle, with his gun on
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his waist, trayvon martin would be alive today. >> or if he had fallen -- >> there's another fact that no one is arguing. >> go ahead, natalie. >> there's another fact that no one is argues. when zimmerman first noticed trayvon he was not doing anything illegal or anything that he could not do. he was where he was supposed to be. >> right. i want to bring in renee -- from "the orlando sentinel." renee, you broke the story today about trayvon being suspended from school because he had an empty bag that might have contained marijuana. was that leaked to you by the sanford police? >> the story that we reported today was principlely about what happened, the events between trayvon and mr. zimmerman in the moments from when zimmerman's phone call to the police ended. the thing that jurors will have to concentrate on, if this comes to trial, is what was in george zimmerman's mind when he pulled the trigger? what we reported today is that
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zimmerman has told police that trayvon let me back up a half step. that zimmerman had stopped following trayvon. he was headed back to his vehicle and trayvon approached him from the back and his left side. that the two exchanged words, that trayvon struck a blow, punched george zimmerman in the nose, and that floored mr. zimmerman. he's down and according to what zimmerman told police trayvon then got on top of george zimmerman and is banging his head against the sidewalk. so, the question for jurors, if it comes to that, is what was in george zimmerman's zimmerman's mind when he pulled the trigger. under in florida's stand your ground law f he had a reasonable fear of death or great bodily injury he was justified in pulling the trigger. witnesses have told us they heard the screams.
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the screams went on more than a minute. so there was a fight that lasted longer than a minute. if you believe george zimmerman's account to police, he was on the ground getting beat up for a minute. so that's what's important in today's "orlando sentinel" story. >> let's go to the question that i asked. did the police leak that information to you about the marijuana? >> the story identifies the source as law enforcement sources. >> so you are a police reporter. you have been around them a long time. this is a standard procedure, as you know when they find themselves in trouble on a case. they start to leak stuff to you police reporters in the hope you will advance it and it will get out there publicly and somehow help their case. do you see any way in which that marijuana information about his suspension from high school helps the police case? >> i don't believe it has anything to do with the police case. nor does george zimmerman's arrest in 2005 on a charge that wound up being resisting arrest without violence.
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both of those things are irrelevant. we haven't had a chance to learn too much about trayvon's back ground his arrest is very relevant. it goes to his pro-10:00 pencety to violence and disobey law enforcement. >> absolutely. >> rene, i want to ask, you had some lines in your story that are presented, as fact. i don't understand why they are presented as fact. you say, zimmerman was on his way to the grocery store when he spotted trayvon walking through his gated community. now others have said that he was on a community watch thing. you don't say that zimmerman says that. you don't say that police told you that. you just report it as fact, as if you know exactly what zimmerman was doing. you don't know that. >> i think you are misreading the story. >> i'm going to quote you again. >> i have a story that says -- >> i will quote you again. zimmerman was on his way to the dproesry store when he spotted trayvon walking bu through his gated community. you don't attribute that to anyone except your own knowledge.
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you also say, presented as fact, trayvon then said, will you do now or something similar and punched zimmerman in the nose and the punch in the nose was the first headline that you put on this story and you don't attribute that to anyone in this sentence. that is something that you are presenting, the orltd sentinel is presenting as fact. >> mr. o'donnell, i just disagree with you. if you look at the story. >> i will read you the sentence again and you tell me if that is not a presentation of a fact. trayvon then said, well you do now or something similar and punched zimmerman in the nose. it doesn't cost you a lot of print to add "according to zimmerman," "according to the police." you owe us in that article where you got that and why you are presenting it as fact. >> mr. o'donnell, i think you are misrespecting the story as it is published. >> i will read you the quote
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again. i am going to read it again. you are not going to accuse me of misrespecting anything. trayvon said well you do now or something similar and punched zimmerman in the nose and you built your headline on the punch in the nose that you present as fact. >> i disagree with you, mr. o'donnell. i think the story is fair and accurate and if you want to ask another question, i'm ready to answer. >> charles you want to get in here? >> one critical part that zimmerman's account, if you believe it, brings up here is that even in his account he is no longer retreating when the encounter starts. because what we learned before is mr. zimmerman said was retreating and attacked from behind. it is almost impossible to get punched in the nose from behind. at this point they are back again face to face. we still have to figure out, zimmerman says they are face to face when this encounter starts.
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who throws that punch? we only now know that zimmerman says that trayvon throws it. trayvon cannot speak from the grave and we may never know, unless there is a witness who can say that i saw trayvon hit george zimmerman in the face, that that is the case. >> mr. blow, we do have a witness that we presented. we presented phone records to the media that shows that va von was talking on the testimony phone to a girlfriend at the time when he first encounters mr. zimmerman. this woman -- this girl. >> i understand that point. >> excuse me. >> i understand that point and i have listened to her statement. she does describe an encounter. it is still impossible to know from what she says if trayvon hit zimmerman or zimmerman hits trayvon because she's not a visual witness. she is an ear witness and she cannot vouch with 100% certainty
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of who starts what. i'm saying that is the crucial question that must be answered. >> yes, sir and it will be answered -- >> go ahead, natalie. last word. >> it will be answered bay jury if george zimmerman is ever arrested. that's a question that goes to the jury. the credibility of george zimmerman versus the credibility of the 16-year-old girl. along with the phone records that she has as proof. >> that's all we will have time for on this. charles blow, renee stutzman thank you for joining us sglont the administration embraces the word obamacare as he thelt care law goes before the supreme court but why was today's big question all about taxes?
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fox news is now in full rally mode around the republican party's likely nominee for president. that means that fox news is ready to tell, even bigger lies than mitt romney tells about himself. that's going to be in tonight's "rewrite" and rick santorum is losing it. he's not just losing the campaign for the republican nomination, he may be losing what is left of his mind or at least his composure. he's even saying very bad words in front of his daughter on tv. the guy is kind of in trouble. john holeman joins me next.
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pick any other republican in
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the country. he's the worst republican in the country to put up against barack obama. >> is it obvious you were the worst republican the country. is that true. >> what speech did you listen to? stop lying. >> well, i'm afraid as long as there's a republican campaign for president, there will be lying. there's no clearer demonstration of how hopeless the santorum campaign is becoming than santorum's lashing out at reporters. >> would you guys quit distorting what i am saying. >> you said he's the worst republican. >> to run against barack obama on the issue of health care because he fashioned the blueprint. i have been saying it at every speech quit distorting our words. if i see it, it's bull [ bleep ]. come on, man, what are you doing? >> yeah, that was rick santorum's daughter, sara maria, hearing her daddy say an ugly
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slang bull for bull excrement. after that he went on conservative talk radio to say how awful it was that barack obama said this. >> my main message is to the parents of trayvon martin. if i had a son he would look like trayvon martin. >> to take a horrible situation like that and then inject this issue, which may be a factor, may not be a factor, but even if it is a factor it's one -- if it is a factor it is obviously one sick man, and to use that, instead of just saying as a healing president would do, try to bring people together. but instead trying to divide people is really a sad and tragic legacy of this president. >> joining me now john holloman from "new york magazine" and msnbc political analyst. i have a bunch of questions for this in florida lawyer that walked off the set.
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can i ask you those questions? >> you cane it is almost certain i would answer them better than he would have. >> how much longer can the campaign count on rick santorum to do the daily dirty work against mitt romney. >> the longer the better for their perspective. the santorum campaign is painfully evident right now. he is losing it on some level. >> he is tired. >> come on. >> he is that. i actually think that is part of it. you have seen this before, lawrence. when you are losing to someone who you consider can your inferior, in every way, intel lecturely, in terms of character it brings out the nastiness with you and you saw that with bob dole, almost the same thing. to george her better walker bush, it sounded like what he was saying in that tape. it is something that comes out. and i think there's a chance mitt romney will beat rick santorum in wisconsin and
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possibly beat him in pennsylvania. i don't think if rick santorum loses his home state i don't see how you go onnen after that. >> when we talk about delegate counts and all of that stuff, the thing that makes it all academic is if these guys drop out, if gingrich and santorum, either one drops out. then romney pretty much has it locked up. there's nothing left to argue. >> that's right. as i said, the money is now become an issue. santorum is getting out spent in wisconsin 55-1. it is not like he is anywhere close to parity and that is usually the thing that gets these guys out of the race. eventually the dough runs out. because of the superpacks they have been able to stick around. we may get to that point for those guys. newt gingrich may stay in indefinitely because he can go around the country from zoo to zoo and have a nice time. >> it comes a time when good, solid candidates who don't say
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stupid things have no impact, even when they say sharp things against their opponents because everybody knows it is over including republican, democratic, independent voters. they all know it is over. and there is almost like a mute button on these guys. >> it is a mute button that we control in the media. although i know this program will continue to cover -- >> keeping rick santorum alive as long as possible. >> if it is just the last word, that may be the one this is the only program covering him and that maybe the case two to three weeks now part of the problem with the etch a sketch. so many problems with that comment and i know it is last week' news. >> it is not going away yet. >> it is a i hilarious flub and the metaphor is brilliant. it is so crazy that we know presidential candidates do this,
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right? >> not to that -- they don't wipe out their entire history. >> many of them have tried to run to the left and the democrats to the right and then make their way back to the center. the point is if you are going to do it, one way it doesn't work if you announce you are doing it in advance. you can't call attention to the pivot and that's one of the many problems of the statement last week. it will make him harder to do it now because he's been so defined by his opponent and his own spokesman as the ultimate flip flop machine of all presidential politics history. that makes pulling off any kind of attack back to the center very hard. >> we will miss rick and newt at the last word. come back some night and. >> we should do it once a week for old time's sake. >> thank you very much for joining me tonight. >> thank you, lawrence. is it attacks -- a tax or a mandate? we will look at the supreme court arguments that started on president obama's health care
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or your money back. newt is $2 million in debt. the campaign is $2 million in debt. and mitt romney said, hell, i got that on me. what's with you? trouble with a car insurance claim. [ dennis ] switch to allstate.
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news tries to rewrite the image of mitt romney from a child of wealth and privilege to something for in the abraham lincoln sglold would you say that mitt romney started with nothing. >> no, you can not say that mitt romney started with nothing. >> i'd also say that mitt romney started with nothing. he didn't get an inheritance from his dad. >> yes, he did get an inheritance from his dad, he did. >> i could all also say that mitt romney started with nothing. he didn't get an inheritance from his dad. he was living in a two-room apartment when he first started so he can relate to struggle sghs he inherited a million dollars from his father. that's a million more than i inherited from my father. he said he gave it to charity, the brigham young university.
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we have no proof because that million went to the hundreds of millions that he had by the time his father died he was much richer than his father when his father died that's why mitt romney can say i didn't take the inher hance tans. as to mitt romney starting with nothing, i give you readings from the real romney by michael kranish and scott heldman. mitt romney was born in to an exclusive leafy section of detroit, according to the book which back then actually had exclusive leafy sections, but that was not leafy or exclusive enough for the romney family by the time mitt was 6. they moved to the suburb of bloomfield hills, one of the country's richest enclaves. one of the countries richest enclaves. page 15, the romneys lived in a contemporary homed a jay sent to the bloomfield hills country club, the city of several thousand people, a domain of
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sprawling homes, emerald lawns and elite private schools, was a world away from nearby detroit. in the 7th grade, mitt enrolled at the elite kranbrook school, a boarding school in his hometown of bloomfield hills them 315-acre campus has been described as one of the most enchanted architectural settings in america. boys attended classes in elegant buildings modelled after an english boarding school surrounded by other sons of privilege, mitt wasn't a standout. mitt, who absolutely did not start with nothing, enjoyed hearing the wisdom of his father at his high school graduation. his father was then the governor of the state where he was delivering that high school commencement address.
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mitt romney did his duty as a mormon missionary in france, which conveniently provided him with a deferment from the draft so that he never had to join the military and get his hands dirty in the vietnam war. young mitt wasn't like the other mormon missionaries in france, according to the real romney. romney also stood out for his rarefied background. one of his fellow missionaries gerald anderson recalled how romney on a trip to paris stunned everyone with his familiarity with the fine french perfumes in a shop on the champs elysees. none of this will stop fox news from staying saying that mitt romney came from nothing. they will say that because they are doing their job of forming a protective, supportive circle around the inevitable nominee for republican president. they are people at fox news, not everyone, but there are some who will tell any lie to defeat
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president obama in his re-election campaign. there may be many admirable things about mirlt the person, but fox news still hasn't found any, which has left them floating this truly breathtaking lie. >> you could also say that mitt romney started with nothing. you could also say that mitt romney started with nothing. you could also say that mitt romney started with nothing. [ male announcer ] if your kid can recognize your sneeze from a crowd... you're probably muddling through allergies. try zyrtec® for powerful allergy relief. and zyrtec® is different than claritin® because it starts working faster on the first day you take it. zyrtec®. love the air.
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it looks like he wants some gas. how's it going, gentlemen? what's up, man? gas prices keep going up. crazy, man. but seeing how i saved hundreds on car insurance with progressive, this tank's on me. [ laughs ] you serious? i'm serious. this guy who needs gas, come on, this way, here we go. how are you, sir? okay. gas prices keep going up, right? yeah. yeah, we getting a whole free tank of gas. crazy. i've never ever had a full tank of gas in this car. fill it up with savings.
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you sure about that, man? i'm absolutely sure about that. all right, who's next? the dude from the progressive commercial, man, he just filled up our tank for us. appreciate it. take care. fill it up? free tank of gas. fill it up. thanks a lot, man. you bet. straight up, man. switch to progressive, dog. they doing a lot of good out here, man. tell him the messenger sent you. . the obama administration continues to pretend it is comfort the supreme court will uphold as constitutional every provision of what even the white house is now calling obamacare. today was day one of the three-day historic argument in front of the supreme court and
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the question of the day was, is the individual mandate the to purchase health insurance a tax? since it was enforced with a tax penalty that will be assessed on any individual tax returns on people who do not comply with the government mandate to purchase health insurance. solicitor general donald virelli representing the obama administration ran in to trouble on that question. >> if they don't pay the tax, they violated a federal law. >> as long as they have paid the penalty. >> they paid the tax they are in compliance with the law. >> why do you keep saying tax? >> if they paid the tax penalty they are in compliance with the law. >> thank you. the penalty. >> the problem is if the supreme court views the mandate as a tax they might decide they cannot decide this case until mb somebody actually has to pay the tax in 2015.
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on the other hand, claiming the mandate is a tax will help in tomorrow's argument when they discuss the constitutionality of the mandate. because if the mandate is found to live under congress's constitutional power to tax, then, of course, it is constitutional. leave it to justice samuel ilie toe to highlight the difficult corner the administration painted itself in to on the question of is it or isn't it a tax. >> today you are arguing that the penalty is not a tax. tomorrow you are going to be back and you will be arguing that the penalty is a tax. has the court ever held that something that is a tax for purposes of the taxing power under the constitution is not a tax under the anti-injunction act. >> no, justice alito. >> joining me is dr. sikh iman wul, the department of the department of medical ethics and msnbc distributor he helped to
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craft the affordable care act and was inside of the supreme court. i'm so jealous of you getting one of those precious seats in the court today. >> i'm jealous of myself, too. >> i would have loved every second. it sounded like it wasn't going so good for the solicitor general. >> no, it went fine for the solicitor general. it was quite clear that most of the justices were hostile to the argument that this was a tax and thought they could get pass it easily. they had to bring in a lawyer in because the government and other side thought the anti-injunction act didn't apply. >> so the buzz in the court going out the building today looks like as of day one the issue that was at risk today is maybe they can't even decide this case right now. it looks like they have cleared that threshold and now, for the rest of the argument, it will be about what the supreme court is going to decide in relation to this. >> right. they clearly wanted to get to the substance of this and this was brush clearing.
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it was still exciting. >> there's no way the administration can be confident with this court or any supreme court that schedules this many days of argument on it. >> i don't agree with you. i think they are confident and i think they are confident for a good reason the argument is on their side. the commerce clause is the stronger of the arguments. it gives congress the power to regulate interstate commerce and necessary and proper methods to get tone force the regulation. having an exchange and requiring people to go in is one of those necessary items. we have had a lot of exchanges in this country, all of them that are voluntary have failed. the one that succeeded in massachusetts has a mandate. you could rightfully conclude it is necessary and proper and that's where the argument will focus tomorrow and i think don virelli has the better of the arguments both in theory and actual


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